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The Validity of Survey Responses on Abortion: Evidence from Estonia

Publication Abstract

Anderson, Barbara A., Kalev Katus, Allan Puur, and Brian D. Silver. 1994. "The Validity of Survey Responses on Abortion: Evidence from Estonia." Demography, 31(1): 115-32.

This paper presents results of a validation survey of abortion conducted in Tallinn, Estonia in April and May 1992. The sample was drawn from patient records in a maternity hospital. Women who had an abortion in that hospital in 1991 were asked about recent abortions as part of a survey about women's health. More than 80% of the respondents reported having a recent abortion. Some respondents misreported their abortion as a miscarriage. Moreover, some variation in reporting was associated with respondents' characteristics. Ethnic Estonians were less likely to report their abortion than were Russians, women over age 40 were less likely to report the abortion than younger women, and women who had the abortion late in the first trimester were less likely to report that abortion. There was some evidence that unmarried women were less likely than married women to report their abortion, and that women who had borne three or more children were less likely to report their abortion than women who had borne fewer children. These differences probably stem from the extent to which pregnancy or abortion is considered stigmatizing for women in different situations.

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